Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
By Royal Command
on 3 April 2014
As the authorised biography of The Beatles you'd expect Hunter Davies' account of the lives of Fab Four, from their very birth to the final breakup of the band, to be factually accurate and without the flaws that are sometimes seen in other biographies and hustled together books on the phenomenon that ended up being called Beatlemania.
Unfortunately, as Hunter Davies himself points out in the notes and additions that accompany the original biography, the story had to be approved by each individual member of The Beatles and, in one case (Brian Epstein), relatives too. So what we end up with is a heavily edited and censored account that glosses over details that others have pursued with greater in-depth investigation, notably 'You Never Give Me Your Money' by Doggett.
Also the tone of this book is lightweight, written as though it was meant for The Beatles fan club, using short sentences which sometimes makes it seem almost fictional in nature which it certainly is not. None of that detracts from the story of how each Beatle grew up, what made them the characters they were, and how they found each other by fortuitous chance.
Indeed it is the early parts of the individual stories which are the most interesting, especially as the accounts are based on extensive interviews and character drawings which you won't find in other books. Note that this latest edition keeps the original early edition text as the core of the book but surrounds it with additional notes, comments and added historical perspectives that are well worth having.
No-one interested in how The Beatles grew up and what made them what they were should be without this book. You'll need others too, particularly Lewisohn's The Complete Beatles Chronicle and Doggett's You Never Give Me Your Money, to complete the history and give more of the facts, but Hunter Davies lived through Beatlemania and was close to the Fab Four and, even though this story reads as though it's by Royal Command, you get a real feeling of how these four musicians rocked the '60s - literally.